ACCESSIBILITY SUBCONFERENCE Jonathan Levine Why are we here? Karst Geurs and I cooked up the idea of having an accessibility subconference five years ago, and we finally succeeded. First we’ll put some terms on the table so that we’re talking about the same things. First, the definitional issue. What is accessibility, and what is accessibility based evaluation? I talk about accessibility in terms of change. Mobility improvement is a reduction in time plus money cost of travel per kilometer. In contrast: accessibility improvement is: Stage 1: replace “kilometer” with “destination” Stage 2: reduction in time plus money cost per unit value of destination Step 3: we are talking about the unit value of a potential destination So, accessibility equals the reduction in the time plus money cost of travel per unit value of potential destination. Four principles for the subconference: 1. Accessibility is an evaluative framework. Not a market basket of alternatives. Not urbanist. Not walking as opposed to driving. It is a way of evaluating transportation in contrast to mobility. 2. Laboratory to practice. Refers to the normative definition of accessibility. We are privileged to have Martin Wachs at the conference. Wachs created normative accessibility. For a long time, accessibility was simply a variable to predict locational choices. In the 1970s, Wachs wrote an article that established accessibility as a normative goal of transportation planning. So, normative vs. positive view. We want to move from a positive to a normative use of accessibility. 3. Accessibility is compelled by the logic of derived demand. Demand for transportation is derived; people travel to reach destinations, not for the sake of movement. This derived demand absolutely compels accessibility-based evaluation. Evaluation based on movement misses the point, because it misses fundamental point of transportation. 4. Accessibility is about the potential for travel. Can’t see it simply by what people do; it is about potential to interact with physical environment. Karst Geurs We’ve been talking about hosting this workshop for some years. Why is accessibility based evaluation so often researched but solutions are not tried? We hope to find some solutions today. Accessibility is a term used by many people. But defining it is not as easy as it looks, similar to terms like sustainability or resilience. These are words that people use, but defining them is difficult. Jonathan and I have a different starting point for accessibility, but we’ve arrived at the same place. Accessibility is a slippery notion (Peter Gould, 1969). I think it should be an indicator or metric for evaluating the impacts of land use and transportation development, for policy plans or projects. Accessibility should relate to the role of transport in society. Transport’s role is to provide people with opportunities to participate in activities in different locations. To participate rather than how fast you can get there.

1 of 26


Accessibility is the extent to which land use and transport systems enable individuals/groups to reach activities or destinations by means of a combination of modes at different times of day. “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed” — Gandhi Accessibility = proximity + speed. For example, job accessibility results from the influence of land use component + influence of speed. Variation in proximity is the major driver of job accessibility, not so much speed. Four components of accessibility: land use, transport, individual and temporal. Individual aspect because people value accessibility in different ways; young, elderly, rich, poor, education level. Whose accessibility? And when do you need access to jobs or hospital etc. Today, we’ll discuss the gap between research and practice. This was noted in 1990s by Handy and Niemeier, 1997. Organizing questions for the subconference: Why is it important to bridge the gap? What are barriers impeding use of accessibility in practice? How can we overcome these barriers?

2 of 26


PANEL 1 • • • •

Martin Wachs, UCLA Kermit Wies, CMAP Jim Schultz, Michigan DOT Cecilia Silva, University of Porto, Portugal Martin Wachs

There is a distinction between mobility and accessibility. We are trying to understand and use accessibility more normatively; ease of travel between destinations, including whether trips are actually taken. Accessibility doesn’t require to do the trip, it’s about the opportunity. This is a common distinction. In the US, there remains much confusion. Online right now, can look at CA department for transportation. Titled “Performance Measures for Rural Transportation Systems.” In chapter 1, defines accessibility, and in chapter 2, it defines mobility as ease of travel—essentially the same definition as for accessibility. So it misses the distinction. They make a mistake which is traditional and historical in its root. People who worry about creation of a network measure performance by looking at connectivity and performance through traffic congestion. Those are not measures of benefit to humans. They are measures of performance of the network. That is traditional among engineering organizations that manage systems and capacity. In the 1970s, think about the status of US investments. Still building interstate system. Were addressing rapid growth in use of auto. Extending roads in suburban areas. Migration of white middle income to suburban areas. Late 1960s, there was urban unrest. Poor people rioted in Chicago, Philly, Detroit. National commission appointed to look at causes of riots with purpose of addressing them. Shockingly, the Kerner commission (Kerner was former Illinois governor, chair of commission) came up with key reasons. One is lack of accessibility of poor inner city to opportunities (i.e. jobs). That context lead to a whole series of studies in 1970s trying to address urban quality of life. One of those at UCLA led by Harvey S. Proloff, dean of UCLA architecture and planning. Study of “social indicators,” meaning measures of quality of life. Indicators of health, education, income, air quality and so on. This notion of quality of life indicators is still very much alive. Debates are still ongoing about how best to use these indicators. Community of scholars in LA asked Marty to participate in quality of life indicators. Marty added an indicator relating to mobility. He began by looking at traditional ones, like traffic congestion and travel time and so forth. Realized that VMT, or amount of vehicle miles traveled, could be good or bad. If associate increasing travel with low income people getting to work, their increase in travel is good. But if there is an increase in travel because of circuity in route, or avoiding congestion by taking longer routes, this is not a good thing. So we were scratching our heads; what is indicator that when it got bigger was better? Most measures didn’t satisfy that need. We realized that even within a household, there were differences in access to opportunities. So we began to develop a concept of access to opportunities. This is consistent with travel as a derived demand. Yes, some people enjoy travel experience, but travel is mostly for healthcare, education, jobs, etc.

3 of 26


We began to characterize environment in terms of how many jobs people could reach within “x” minutes. Used four or five land uses: health care, schools, jobs and outdoor recreation. We believed that people would be better off they had more choices. For example, for doctors, people can choose a doctor they prefer if they have choices. We found huge differences between auto and transit accessibility. Within 45 minutes of south LA, where most residents are poor, you could reach 1,000 doctors if you had a had car and only 65 doctors if you relied on public transport. These indicators that we published, and which were used briefly by public officials at that time period, were incomplete. We knew we needed more development. Questions we asked are still relevant: how could we combine accessibility to different types of opportunities without arbitrarily weighting them? Education, jobs…how weigh, compare them? How could accessibility be represented without including a price variable? Most studies at that time didn’t measure price except in terms of travel time; what about money? Another issue: whether local accessibility (walking within a neighborhood) was deserving of a different treatment or priority than ability to use car to reach farther destinations. Worried about issue that still remains important; if can get to airport then fly anywhere in world, that is part of your accessibility. One airport might connect to two cities, others connect to 50 cities. There is this issue of global mobility which characterizes the current era. Another important question: could we measure and combine accessibility for freight as well as individuals? Becoming important as we rely more on Amazon.com and other online retailers for goods. More recently—not included at that point—is question of tradeoffs between information and physical accessibility with Lyft and Uber and Waze and Amazon.com. I’ve begun to wonder whether electrical communication with other places, whether information systems can be incorporated into discussions of accessibility. Over time in US, the word accessibility has continued to be used, but in successive decades, it’s been used in different ways. In 1980s, term became associated with disability. Curb cuts, ADA act, wheelchair lifts in buses, etc. were referred to as accessibility. When I bring up the subject of accessibility in context of the property of a whole city, most people think I’m talking about wheelchair lifts etc. for disabled people. The term has that connotation. Accessibility is related to services for disabilities but it has different intent. And now New Urbanism movement has taken up the term; they take it to mean local accessibility, such as walkability and bikeability. Again, local accessibility is related to accessibility. These different uses of “accessibility” make it difficult to have an inclusive discussion of accessibility. This is an interesting time for people who study cities. In some parts of world, there is still not public transport and public roads. Proportion of populations within 20 minutes of the nearest road is a measure of accessibility in some parts of world. But more people are beginning to get cell phones, to get bikes at fast pace. In Western cities, there is the merging of information and accessibility. They are complements in some ways, substitutes in other ways for physical movement. What is the role of information and can it be incorporated into descriptions or measures of accessibility? These challenges are interesting. Kermit Wies I knew Wachs would come as close as anybody could to defining this problem. Now we have the whole day to discuss it!

4 of 26


Another theme I want to pick up on is lab to practice. I am a practitioner. I’ve worked for the same MPO for 30 years; I’ve never been sorry about that. I have some stories to tell about that. Since this is a lab to practice discussion, I want to pick up on some of the earlier themes, not to ignore what Wachs talked about. Levine sent out some prompting questions. I used those to prepare remarks that appear in the program book. If you know what an MPO is—it’s a hybrid of federal legislation. Basically they are run by people who implement and build transportation infrastructure in metro regions. Their charge is to get all jurisdictions that produce transport systems to cooperate and work toward one plan. MPOs are driven from some of these academic principles of performance measures, objectivity and fairness. Early documents from the 1970s state that the objective of MPOs is to remove politics from transportation planning projects. We are not so naive today! There has been an evolution of accessibility based evaluation at my agency. I am a travel demand monitor. I try to predict the future. The accessibility measure required taking these travel demand model datasets and mashing up the results to answer the question: how easy, how fast, what is the cost for anybody to get everywhere? That seemed to be an interesting metric at the time. I can produce maps so that people get what accessibility means: there is a hotspot here, there, etc. But in a region as large as Chicago, LA etc. people are not used to looking at maps at a metro scale. The problem with accessibility is that it’s difficult to move the needle on it. You can’t just put a building here or a transport line there and see much change. So it’s actually a fairly boring metric to work with. The only solution we’ve ever had for transport was to build more of infrastructure—a train line, tollway etc. That attitude prevailed in the first 10 years my career. In the mid-1990s, things began to shift as environmental justice issues rose up. Accessibility measures, if you stratify them by people, can be disturbing. Showed a disappointing, surprising result: disadvantaged people had been abandoned to the center city. We needed a better set of tools and more stratified demand information. The question was, what are you going to do with transportation to make it easier for a low income black adult to reach the job she’s qualified for? How do we get people to work? We demonstrated where links were needed, but the solutions were undesirable; we could add a bus to get people to some far flung remote office park where they could work in a stock room or as a custodian, where they only needed a high school degree. But if you miss that bus, you’re stranded, so we guaranteed them a ride home. People live that way for a few months, but there is no social mobility, no economic mobility in that solution. You’re providing a high subsidy for something that is less than ideal. Reverse commute got federal funding. Six months later, the suburban agency said nobody has gotten on this bus in awhile. People quit work because life was better without it, or they found a different job. So that was the 1990s. Ten years ago, my agency started getting more comprehensive, more holistic about what planning should accomplish. Calling yourself just a “transportation planner” meant you were a pariah now. No longer was the only solution providing new service. I still have travel demand models, I do the math, but we’ve started combining this work with other social indicators, layering them up. We know where the problem is: west and south sides of Chicago. We need to find performance measures that will tell decision makers when things are getting better for these areas.

5 of 26


The Fair Housing and Equity Assessment report in Chicago provided a list of metrics: housing, affordability, transportation accessibility, employment accessibility, housing tenure (stability of housing situation), education, income, race. You can’t separate racial segregation from the problems of accessibility. Cecilia Silva I’ll be talking about my accessibility instruments project. The report will bring together the main findings of a large research project that involved 80 researchers from 20 European countries and from Australia. We sought to understand why there is a lack of implementation of accessibility instruments in planning practice. We looked at how both researchers and practitioners view the this issue of lack of use. Our approach had 3 phases: 1. Focus on accessibility instruments and the instrument developers. How do they look at the gap, what are the reasons for lack of use in their view? 2. Develop workshop methodology common for all workshops—across countries, language, instruments. 3. Invite local practitioners in workshops to give their perspective on the same instruments from phase 1. The instruments were those offered by developers. Objective in first phase was to assess the developers’ perspective on usability. And the same for planning practitioners—ease of use, in their view. Phase 3 included 18 workshops with 18 planning practitioners. Not just to show them the instruments, but to actually use them. Asked them to provide their perception on instruments, their view on usefulness. The idea of the project was to look at both usability from developers and usefulness from practitioners, and see if the results could contribute to bridging the implementation gap. Results: first, usability. We asked developers to rate their own instruments. Highlighted several issues, e.g. visual representation, modeling skills, typical things you would ask a developer. In general, we were expecting to find that developers would find the instruments to be very usable. But actually the developers—although they trusted the tools—did not think the instruments were perfect, nor did they think the tools would solve every problem. They are aware of the difficulties of using the instruments. Results from practitioners: before asking, asked them to use the instrument and to describe the results based on what was provided to them. Almost all practitioners were very positive about the use of the instruments. More than 90 percent said yes, instruments for accessibility were very useful, regardless of whether they had used accessibility instruments before. Practitioners believed that the instruments were useful and provided insights, and should be used in practice. But if asked whether they would personally choose to use an accessibility instrument in the future, they were not that positive about using it anymore. In other words, they were optimistic about the gains in planning practice, but not optimistic about using the instruments themselves. They were also not positive about the time and money required to use instruments in current planning practice.

6 of 26


One takeaway may be that institutional barriers may be more responsible than usability issues in limiting the use of accessibility instruments. But we haven’t researched institutional barriers in detail. So the main conclusions of research: we’ve seen that accessibility instruments reveal new insights to planners. One thing you could say to developers: focusing on usability is not going to bring about use, at least according to what we saw. Instruments that got highest usability were not the same as those rated highest in usefulness. And high usefulness may not translate to actual use by practitioners. Accessibility instruments, and accessibility planning, is not easy because it generates more questions than answers, and has many difficult political decisions behind it. Suggestions we make to bring about accessibility planning: 1. Developers should keep engaging with planners. If there is a role for developers, it is not in increasing usability. It’s in bringing the instruments out to practitioners, and building publicity on how accessibility planning works. There is still confusion about the term accessibility. 2. There is a need for the institutionalization of accessibility planning. In Europe, only 3 of the countries involved had requirements for accessibility measurements. Planners recognize accessibility as important, but they are only rarely required to look at it. Personally I have some problems with institutionalization of accessibility measures. There is a risk because people sometimes confuse what the term “accessibility” means. When people still confuse mobility and accessibility—and accessibility measures are institutionalized and people are obliged to use them—the accessibility measures be used to justify mobility solutions. If you look at large road projects in Portugal, they have models that show improvements in accessibility, because it’s easy to use the tool to justify mobility improvements. So this is a risk of institutionalization of accessibility planning. Jim Schultz I started my career in forecasting with an MPO. Then I did location analysis for a private firm for shopping malls and bank branches. And now I’m with the state of Michigan. I have degrees in civil engineering, not planning. What are the projects in your life that change the direction of career? For me, it was when President Carter decided to give money to Detroit to build a subway system. MPO said we should do a regional analysis to see how a subway would affect the growth of the city. At the end of the day, the analysis showed there would be much suburb to suburb travel on the subway and not much subway travel between Detroit and the suburbs. Even back then, suburbs were rising and Detroit was slumping. We were starting to see the implications of riots at that time; jobs were moving to suburbs, with less focus on the central city. The analysis said, why should you build a subway in Detroit if the travel demand is between suburbs? Coleman Young was upset at the results of the analysis, and wanted Jim fired. There have been other influential projects. Detroit has lost many people, yet MDOT is looking at modernizing I-94 through the city of Detroit. The freeway needs to be rebuilt. But MDOT says, this is the time to add another lane. People against roadway capacity expansion are saying, what are you doing? Nobody argues that I-94 needs to be reconstructed. So we’re having a discussion about freeway widening. Nobody talks about the consequences of allowing people to live farther out, about exacerbating movement out of Detroit.

7 of 26


Another project has been the I-375 freeway to boulevard conversion. What is the motivation for MDOT to look at this project? One is cost: it’s cheaper to do a boulevard than a freeway. Also, a boulevard may help connect neighborhoods to downtown Detroit. Some say, what does connecting those neighborhoods have to do with MDOT? People in MDOT don’t understand why I’m a member of New Urbanism and similar organizations, because they don’t see land use as relevant. MDOT people see themselves as reactionary—“we don’t change results, we just do things based on what the market demands.” The other day, I was in a staff meeting. I asked, do you think MDOT had any contribution to the fact that Detroit went bankrupt? In 1950s, we built lots of freeways in the city that eliminated tax base and encouraged people to live outside of the city. So don’t you think that contributed to the demise of Detroit? Most MDOT don’t see the link. And what do to correct that? Panel 1 discussion Question: Marty and Kermit talked the about origins of accessibility in concerns for poor people and carless people. and I have a concern about that concern. Here’s why. In the US, we often talk about accessibility as if it’s the service that poor people need, whereas the rest of us need mobility. Is the perception that accessibility is something for poor people a barrier to adoption of the instruments? Kermit: In my career, I feel like I’m supposed to be helping people. It was mentioned earlier that very often low income people often live in the center of cities, where freeways converged, so these areas are highly accessible. But if you deconstruct that issue, you find that the principle mode of accessibility is the auto, and auto ownership low in those populations. And jobs in those areas not transit accessible. So even though people are in accessible areas, those people did not enjoy high accessibility. That understanding has improved over decades. Centers of city have now become the most vibrant places, with upper income professionals moving in and lower income pushed out. I believe this reflects the value of accessibility, and taking advantage of that accessibility. So while route of study of accessibility has its root in the poor, the larger role is helping us understanding the role of urban space. The word “carless” was used for the first time this morning. I have a practitioner’s story to tell. Rapid transit line in south side Chicago, can get downtown in 20 minutes, red line. This line was supposed to be extended. First half of my career, the line was supposed to be in the median of expressway to a parking lot of an auto plant. Ten years ago, the plan for the line turned into one about fairness and economic development, so the proposed line was shifted to an abandoned rail line through a distressed community. I went to a public meeting at one point and an older gentleman came up to me to look at the train line extension issue. He asked, “This line extension is only a few miles right? I don’t know anybody who goes downtown. How much is this going to cost?” The price tag was $750 million. The man asked, “Why don’t you just buy everyone a car?” I didn’t have an answer for that. Schultz: I find political discussions of presidential candidates interesting. Income equality is a hot topic. How can we tie accessibility into that? How relevant is our discussion to income equality? Both parties realize they need to talk about income equality. Cecilia: In the south of Europe, accessibility did not start with a focus on problems with low income people. It hasn’t evolved from that background. An increase in accessibility generates a gentrification phenomenon where high income people take over high accessible areas. 8 of 26


Question: Marty said, downtown areas are most accessible, and poorer people are living in some of the most accessible locations downtown. But there were no autos there, so it was not really accessible. So even in this room there is confusion over the term accessibility. The thing I keep hearing is land use. For us, when planners talk about accessibility, we talk about accessibility of the transportation network. We also talk about accessibility of place. And then we can link that with land use. So someplace is not accessible if you have routes but not the means. Kermit: At a SEMCOG meeting, Detroit planners are trying to take the blinders off. They are forecasting a declining population. In lobby, they have a high res photo of downtown Detroit. I estimated that 75 percent of downtown is surface parking. Marty: I want to respond to the point about the center of Detroit having accessible highways. In US cities, service jobs—those with relatively low barriers to entry, hourly sales and so forth— many of them have moved to suburbs. Opportunities to employment have moved to the suburbs. Employment was not necessarily declining in the central city, but growth has been concentrated outside the city center. The issue is complicated! There are other issues besides accessibility to employment. Question: This is less a technical question and more of a policy question. What often ends up happening is there a default back to more common practice, which is mobility practice. Highway repairs, congestion, levels of service remain in use because those tasks are challenging enough. Maintenance is a full plate for DOTs. So for me, it’s more a question of policy than use of tools. If policy is there, tools will work themselves out. The core question is a political question. Jim: MDOT has been involved nationally in performance metrics. Travel time reliability. On highway side, A to B congestion. The difficulty has been on livability and complete streets and how to fold those issues into the discussion. Question: Services, like carpooling can be a great opportunity for low income people because the cost is lower. But some people will not use these services, because maybe they don’t want to share, or they are Muslim women. So accessibility is not just physical; it’s related to each individual. We need to bring in indicators that provide a good vision of the situation. It’s important to define which kind of accessibility we are dealing with. We need to bring in social indicators. Cecilia: I want to comment on the previous comment. About policy, I completely agree with that. What I brought you today was about instruments, but what’s important is the policy agenda. I would go even deeper: at least in European policy, accessibility is a very common word. But in many cases, it’s just a word. We need a clear understanding of the concept. It’s a principle: shift from mobility to accessibility. Having access to transport system is different from having it be useful. Not just access to a transport system, but access by that transport system is truly what accessibility means. There is an issue about clarifying the concept and making it a principle and not confusing it with mobility. Question: Land value is often taken as a given. I want to add that we should think about land value as an outcome of accessibility. Most accessible places will have higher land value; those in the middle of cities want to access things. Land value itself is an indicator of accessibility; people are willing to pay more because they are paying less in transport. 9 of 26


Question: In the UK in the 1990s, Tony Blair won elections, and in his election manifesto he stated that the rationale for future transportation investment was accessibility. Reducing social exclusion was the background for development of accessibility tools. It was a difficult process— talking about intersector and cross sector collaborations, which are difficult. The UK example is the only one I know in Europe of a strong driver for accessibility tools. If the policy is there, the instruments will follow. At the same time, we’ve noted that some planners do not see the link between land use and transport. If they don’t see link, how will policy be developed if instruments are not there? Response: I don’t think having policy will take care of everything. As you develop policy, planners will need to provide data. Not one then other…you need both, it’s a dynamic process. Levine: It’s bottom up plus top down. Planners begin to use accessibility tools. Top down, the standard setters (AASHTO etc.) provide cover for what planners are doing. Kermit: Professional standards are key. One thing that is coming up: in our federalist form of government, policy is a minimum compulsory requirement. It’s not the highest you can go, it is the minimum you must achieve. Federal Highway Association certified MPOs. MPOs worry when the FHA comes in; usually they ask “Is this what you’re asking everybody to do? Because our problems are unique.” Only air quality conformity has successfully been imposed as a performance practice for MPOs to get federal funds. Highway Capacity Manual still influences accessibility measures because it sets denominators. What is the role of central government in imposing good practice in Europe? Response from UK perspective: I immigrated to Australia 19 years ago. Started research when had central guidance in UK for transport and land use. This was the birth of accessibility thinking as we think about it now. It was driven by a concern for increasing car use, VMT, CO2 emissions. Question: Are we measuring the right thing when talking about equity? We should measure accessibility to jobs for low income people if we’re looking at equity. If I want to look at accessibility to jobs in general, fine, but if we’re moving to equity standard, look first at accessibility for low income people. Low income people may have good accessibility, but not to the jobs they want. Cecilia: In regard to the increasing gap between academy and practice—we have no evidence either way. I would just say, the issue is shifting because there are new understandings and new formulations of accessibility. I’ve seen several examples…road examples, mainly highway infrastructure, which are simply meant to justify mobility strategies. So the gap may be changing in nature, but not necessarily getting bigger. More instruments are being used, but not used for accessibility. In regard to accessibility to what; this raises a number of questions. Accessibility to work is a common topic. In countries we’ve surveyed, work is no longer the main destination. Other activities are more important. If you want to connect accessibility to equity, work is no longer the main issue. The question comes back to how much accessibility should we provide, and what type? Land use diversity is important here. We can increase the choices, the amount—but there is only so much choice we can give people. I would focus not on jobs but on leisure, shopping etc. and talk about how much accessibility we need. 10 of 26


Question to Cecilia: Why is increasing the number of jobs people can reach a mobility solution? Cecilia: There is confusion when you are given general measures that indicate, “the more the better.” When you put the issue as, “having more accessibility is always better than having a little less,” at some point you have good accessibility and yet you’re still striving for more. This situation is dangerously similar to the rationale for mobility planning, for infrastructure planning. When you have measures that look at the number of jobs you can get to, and you just measure that, at some point you get to strategies that are similar to mobility strategies. That’s why “the more the better” is used to justify large infrastructure. I’m just pointing out the risks; I agree that the accessibility measure is different from mobility. Question: What would accessibility planning look like on the ground? If you had total control but limited funds, and the goal is accessibility, what would be different? How would investment priorities change? Kermit: Maintain existing infrastructure and serve existing communities. Let the economy and land use settle around the existing level of service. Stop extending transportation infrastructure into undeveloped areas. Let’s use all of our funds to maintain existing infrastructure. Jim: Convert mentality to walkable urban places and retrofit suburbia. Look to D.C., to Tyson’s Corner. That would be my change. Marty: LA is very accessible at 3 a.m. by auto. Issues resolve themselves if you don’t have congestion and you rely on autos. In the past 15 to 20 years, we’ve focused on providing a more balanced transportation system, and investments in public transit. We’ve reduced free parking and the amount of land devoted to parking. Converting land from parking and investing in transit. We’re not investing much in new auto transportation systems, though we’re concerned about maintaining existing LOS. LA is pretty much just maintaining existing infrastructure, along with adding bike lanes and transit. We are starting to get a backlash from drivers. But this is the right direction to go. CECILIA: I would distinguish between local and regional accessibility. I would focus on local accessibility. First would be reducing the urban boundary to make sure public transport is useful. And reduce the competitiveness of the car; the car increases regional accessibility. As long as you focus on the car, services tend to focus on car accessible places. Regional accessibility is used as an excuse to close schools, hospitals, etc. Reduce the urban boundary and reduce the competitiveness of car (e.g. improve biking facilities). Stop investing in road infrastructure, because that makes cars more competitive compared to other facilities.

11 of 26


KEYNOTE • Chris Ganson, senior planner, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research We’re in the thick of it in California. The irony is, I’m one of the least versed people here in accessibility metrics, giving the keynote at an accessibility subconference. I’m coming at transportation from a climate change perspective. A high school teacher introduced me to climate change. I worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for awhile. Circled back to planning around the time “An Inconvenient Truth” came out. Now I’m at OPR, sometimes called the planning arm of the state. It does general plan guidelines, guidelines for environmental review. Also serves as coordinating body. Twelve people do policy. Now there is a transportation policy person fleshing out the staff. We help forward the governor’s agenda on planning and environmental issues. California’s role. We have a big on the U.S. Like to think of ourselves as policy drivers for the US. We are hoping to end up in that role for greenhouse gas emissions. One of our targets is to hit 1990 CO2 levels by 2020. There are a series of regulations setting CO2 targets. To reach 2030 goals, we must reduce VMT (electric vehicles are not enough). A CA law prioritizes infill. We have a forward-thinking governor. Environmental review through CEQA. If doing a project, must do environmental report that calls out impacts so decision makers can use that when deciding whether to approve project. A measure of project impact on the environment, not of social impact. Not intended to measure project performance. Not intended to answer the question of whether project is a good idea or not. Existing measure of transportation impacts is the LOS standards. Auto throughput is the “problem” to be solved as part of environmental law. Example: analysis of infill development using LOS. Relatively little vehicle travel loaded onto the network, because site is accessible, multimodal. But apply to LOS and get numerous LOS impacts. Why? Because it’s a last-in development, and by definition, you’re going in where there is existing development and roads are already filled to LOS thresholds. So the last development pushes you over LOS thresholds. In CEQA, you must mitigate impacts, so you have to expand auto capacity. This makes things worse for everybody not in an automobile, and it’s costly. Contrast the infill LOS analysis to an LOS analysis of greenfield development. Loads are 3-4x for vehicle travel, yet there are relatively few LOS impacts. Why? Because it’s a first-in development, so it’s the filling of roads toward threshold but doesn’t push it over. It does cause more delay and traffic, but it is disperse. This is “regional congestion by a thousand cuts.” There are at least nine problems with using LOS in this fashion: 1. Punishes last-in, inhibits infill, pushes development outward 2. “Solves” local congestion, exacerbates regional congestion 3. Inhibits transit. LOS sees transit vehicle carrying 40 people the same as one car carrying one person. Had problems with this with BRT projects; along dense corridor, you run buses that allow more people to travel along the corridor. Yet LOS paradigm has projects having to prioritize getting cars rather than people through; it doesn’t make any sense. 4. Inhibits active transport 5. Measures mobility, not access; shows failure when we succeed.

12 of 26


6. Measures mobility poorly; fails to optimize network even for autos. You can expand capacity and let loose travel there, then screw things up worse at a downstream intersection that’s more improvement. You improve mobility at one place and worsen it elsewhere (Braess’s Paradox). 7. Forces more road construction than we can afford to maintain. Either force building in outlying location, or add road capacity. 8. Hard to calculate and inaccurate. Accuracy of LOS standards is very low in most cases, although not presented as such. To calculate, must project what will happen at intersection decade or two into future. Modeling guidelines: error bars can be 30-40%, and put that into simulation model, can raise LOS two or three grades in some cases, yet report it to 3 or 4 significant figures when only 1 significant figure would be accurate. 9. Leads to costly, unhelpful solutions ITE is now piling on. May and August 2014 issues of ITE Journal discuss problems with LOS. California law SB 743 prohibits use of LOS in CEQA guidelines. Declares auto delay is no longer an environmental impact. Replaces LOS with a VMT metric that reduces GHGs, improves multimodal, mixed use development. Advantages of VMT metric: 1. Removes barriers to infill 2. Easier to model 3. Already used (e.g. for GHGs) 4. More accurate 5. Sees big picture 6. Mitigation doesn’t undo itself by inducing more car travel 7. Mitigation reduces long run maintenance burden 8. Mitigation forwards other environmental and human health factors Negative impacts of high VMT development are in three areas: environment, health and cost. Some impacts are direct, others are indirectly associated with high VMT land uses, e.g. development is likely to be less compact and to not share walls. This has implications for water use and energy use, and how much space is consumed by the land uses that the transportation serves. All these findings are backed by research. How does VMT analysis look on various projects? With the new regulations, we analyze nearby intersections: VMT is loaded onto roadway network. If there is an impact, we adjust the project to be more travel efficient (e.g TDM) or pay into a VMT mitigation program. There is value to streamlining things through CEQA. We hope that a VMT map provides a shortcut; in blue areas, VMT will be low, so build there! Map will look similar to accessibility; not just low impact development, but also putting development in places where there are high levels of accessibility. With the new regulations, transit and active transportation are presumed to reduce VMT unless demonstrated otherwise. We now also estimate induced VMT. The solution is to manage lanes, employ ITS, or provide TDM. Effect of roadways on VMT? Road expansion leads to: 1. Longer trips 2. Mode shift toward automobile 3. Newly generated trips 13 of 26


4. Route changes 5. More disperse land use development All these results are expected given a basic understanding of supply and demand. Confirmed in substantial literature; at least 20 studies quantify induced vehicle travel. California Air Resources Board has good policy briefs and background technical documents. CARB declares literature review “high confidence” for induced travel research. (2 CARB documents are cited: a policy brief and a background technical document) (Slides show citations) How to estimate induced VMT? Travel demand model can estimate longer trips, mode shift, newly generated trips and route changes. But it will not capture the land use impact of a project; how do you capture that? Three options: 1. Employ land use model 2. Use an expert panel, e.g. Delphi method 3. Examine gap between modeled and typical empirical results; adjust model results accordingly Where should we use VMT as a metric? Some think we should just use the metric in urban areas. They think that in rural areas, you either let people drive or you’re inhibiting people’s accessibility. In urban areas, you do have the greatest array of mitigation options. In suburban areas, you may not get as high of a percent reduction in VMT, but the tools you apply will have a greater overall effect because VMT is much higher in those areas. Bulk of our urban fabric is suburban. Must reign in VMT in suburban areas, or else we will not hit targets. In rural areas, there are some things you can do. Develop in a way that’s lower VMT: maintain small town character! The big shopping boxes on the edge of town, versus low key development on Main Street. All that said: use of LOS in CEQA became the way transportation was done in CA. Now we’re saying, that’s not a useful way forward. We’re just about to remove the LOS option. In about 2.5 years, LOS will no longer be allowed. This creates a vacuum. Need way to do transportation planning without LOS. Our advice to municipalities: don’t do the same thing you’ve been doing (ad hoc, LOS triggered mitigation). Better option: use LOS to plan capacity, then charge for capacity or units to estimate project impact (not ideal). Even better option: use LOS to plan roadway capacity, use VMT to estimate project impact. Best option: use accessibility metric to plan network; use VMT to estimate project impact. We are encouraging cities to look at tradeoffs. So you want a certain LOS, perhaps. Have you thought of the financial cost? The emissions? The most hopeful advice is using accessibility to plan network and VMT to estimate project impact. Operationalizing accessibility: policy and institutions. How? Current efforts: 1. developing general plan guidelines, 2. guidelines for transportation impact studies, 3. guidelines for transportation analysis and 4. guidelines on transportation impact fee programs. There are political and institutional challenges. Lot of entrenchment around delay metrics; everybody thinks congestion is the problem. Elected officials, public, transportation engineers, Caltrans. Fool’s errand of relieving congestion; you build capacity, and you get sprawl and keep the congestion.

14 of 26


Bright side: people now crave accessibility. People used to want to drive fast, now they want to live three stories above a cool cafe. They want the excitement of living downtown and living close to things. What can we do to encourage that with metrics? How can we ride this wave? We need a metric that is compelling, that resonates with the public and decision makers, that overcomes the profession’s obstinance, that rids us of the obsession with delay and LOS. How do we get measures in front of people in a way that grabs people? Keynote discussion Question: It’s clear that LOS is flawed. The problem with the VMT model is the “V” in it. The array of vehicles is going to change; I’m afraid VMT will become outdated. Why not go all the way and use an urban footprint metric? Ganson: We are. Urban footprint is a tool in which you have a plan or scenario, and you load it into software and it calculates GHG, runoff, cost to maintain infrastructure, etc. That’s a critical tool. We need to stop making our planning decisions in absence of the things we care most about. We need to inform the planning process. Less politics behind the scenes, and more doing what benefits people the most. CEQA has a law that looks at an array of impacts. The VMT transportation impact, instead of working against those impacts, will now align with them. Cars are getting cleaner, yes. But there are still many costs associated with VMT. First, we will not clean cars up fast enough to solve the climate problem. We must reduce VMT to get there. Even if we got clean cars today, there are still many environmental, health and cost issues at play. Question: I agree that LOS has problems, but VMT does as well. I caution you that you can increase urban densification through infill and other means, but a colleague has run data for me that shows densification does not necessarily mean you reduce average daily trips. You may shorten the trips, but you’ll still have a range of problems including spatial consumption for private motor travel. Ganson: I couldn’t agree more. VMT solves a problem, but it doesn’t solve all problems. We still have a lot of work to do in planning. Question: I think you’re very close to about as good we can do. Ed Glaeser has a paper that says the problem we have is that the greenest cities are the most expensive cities for housing. We have great cities that nobody can afford to live in. If we're able to push down the cost of housing in low carbon California cities, you would get more people to migrate to them. From a national point of view, this would reduce carbon impacts. If we care about climate, can’t keep it local. Ganson: I agree, we need to make cities more accessible and appealing everywhere. It’s impossible to solve the problem because, when you make a place more accessible, then it’s more attractive and it drives lower income people out. The solution is do this in a widespread fashion. Do this everywhere. Affordable housing, income mixing is part of the solution. Question: In Virginia, we are not waiting for a perfect metric. Being in this room has driven this home for me. If we wait for perfect, will be too late. There are still huge headwinds. I’m looking at a memo from the FHWA from 2001. It’s talking about the minimum LOS Virginia must meet for any NHSA-funded roads.

15 of 26


We have to look into the future if we’re looking at accessibility. If we’re just looking at before and after a project, it’s just another mobility metric because haven’t allowed changes in proximity to take place. Question: LOS was just mentioned as a federal requirement. To what extent do cities and counties of California continue to require LOS even if it’s not part of CEQA? Ganson: It will be a mixed bag. Some are moving away from LOS. Bulk of them, their first instinct is they’re getting wrapped up on what VMT is. There will be an uphill battle with the bulk of cities to insert a different metric. That is one reason it’s important to get a metric of access to destinations to hand to them. If we continue to use LOS, we hope to convince them to do it in a less problematic way. It’s a challenge. In the planning process, as a plan undergoes CEQA review, you must look at the effect on VMT of your choice of LOS standard. So you’ll have to look at it when looking at your choice for LOS standard. Municipalities are legally required to see whether they can fund the LOS you’re choosing. Question: How do you define what is low VMT and what is high VMT? Also, I’m glad you put congestion on the agenda. Privately, I believe that high congestion is good. But this is not politically correct. One of the measures we’ve got in Perth, Australia, is if you ask: where can you live without a car? Where can you live where you don’t worry about congestion because you don’t drive? That might be a new metric. Ganson: Regarding congestion, I get frustrated when I’m in a traffic jam, just like anyone. But if we create public policy from that frustration, we make a lot of stupid, harmful choices about what infrastructure to build. Because of induced travel, building roadway doesn’t tend to work. In the whole, you’re trying to solve the congestion problem but you’re creating sprawl and still not solving congestion. Regarding low versus high VMT. CEQA sets a “significant threshold” for impacts. If the impact is above the threshold, you must do mitigation. This is a challenging technical piece for VMT. We use a regional average VMT to set the threshold. Again, we want to streamline the CEQA process. Question: On that point, in South America, we use VMT rights. You set a threshold for a project, and if the project is under that threshold, you have VMT rights that you can sell off to receiving places. You can limit what the receiving places are. This builds in incentive to go beyond the threshold to do much better than that threshold. Ganson: I love that idea. We are looking at this type of idea. There are institutional challenges: who manages VMT bank, who sets that up? Question: What issues have you found that resonate with people? Ganson: There are many answers, many stakeholders. Where to start? We have infill developers excited to get LOS off their backs. There are land speculators and sprawl builders who are not excited about this (they are couching their concerns as if they’re concerned about infill impacts). There are just a multitude of different interests.

16 of 26


In advice on setting thresholds, San Francisco decided to craft its own VMT process—they want to get CEQA off their backs. LA, in contrast, wants to utilize CEQA to encourage TDM. People are asking for different things from us. Question: Among the most influential stakeholder groups are homeowner associations and neighbors of proposed infill. Invariably they are opposed to it. They don’t understand the regional benefits, and there’s no reason they should understand those benefits when they live next door to a proposed development. How do you outreach to community groups where the immediate effect of these policies is higher VMT locally, even though the benefit is regional? Ganson: This law and our implementation of it is a prioritization of regional issues over local issues. You can’t prioritize both equally. You can’t outlaw infill and still meet GHG targets. Cities will be able to use different options to meet GHG targets. That’s why we need to do this stuff everywhere, so we have more great places. The thing that CEQA has allowed is that in many cases, you have a small band of people opposed to a development who may not represent the neighborhood or city as a whole. The neighborhood association just happens to have a small group of very vocal opponents. CEQA has allowed a single person to sue and stop things; we are striving to take away CEQA as a tool to do that, so you have to go through the political process rather than just have a single person muck it up.

17 of 26


PANEL 2 • • • • •

James Corless, Transportation for America David Meunier, Universite Paris-Est James Townsend, Michigan House of Representatives Nick Donohue, Virginia DOT William Lyons, US DOT James Corless

Transportation for America is a national nonprofit, DC-based. Last U.S. federal transportation bill: we pulled together organizations from across the country to try to get Congress to put more performance based, outcome driven metrics in the transportation bill. None of that came to pass. Congress took three years to pass Map 21, which went into effect for two years. We are pro-investment, but it became about money and taping together a broken system of financing infrastructure. Nobody is willing to raise the gas tax at the federal level. Politicians believe it’s a third-rail issue politically. We don’t agree. Twenty states (not MI) have increased their gas taxes since 2012. This is a panel about obstacles to implementing accessibility more fully. I would throw out five general obstacles that are standing in the way; we’ve hit on a number of them already. 1. Politics. We have to get the conversation from this morning to a level the public understands. The public has been sold for awhile on a notion we can get rid of traffic congestion for them; they believe if we spend a little more money, we could fix all the congestion. We have to put this issue to the fore. No politician will defend congestion. But the notion that this is what we have to solve, and should spend more to get rid of it, we have to get rid of that idea. Joe Cortwright provides some measures of reliability and traffic. Joe had a cartoon about Starbucks and people’s willingness to pay to get their coffee immediately. 2. Nuance / getting in the weeds. We do a disservice by treating all congestion the same. SF Bay area research: congestion is byproduct of productivity. Analogy between cholesterol types…I don’t think all traffic is the same. Some it is just a reality of living in a thriving metro economy. Other kinds of congestion are bad: taking a commute from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. The irregular, accident-based congestion is harmful. MTC has done an analysis in Bay Area breaking down different kinds of congestion. 3. Land use. Steve Heminger was asked one time: Steve, if you have $20 million to spend on transportation in Bay Area, what would you do? He said, I’d spend half on schools to make sure we have best schools possible. I’d spend the other half on making housing more affordable and attainable so people can live in more accessible locations. Land use is part of equation that’s being missed. The proximity issue. We assume static land uses in traffic models. We did a study in San Francisco low income region; found that people wanted night transit service because there were no grocery stores in their neighborhood. Subsidizing a grocery store to move closer to this neighborhood was actually cheaper than providing that bus service. 4. Tools. The tools are changing quickly on accessibility. I would love for there to be a research to practitioner pipeline on tools to measure accessibility. We still are stuck on the 4-step travel model. There are exciting real time metrics, often from overseas, that we could make big use of. We can only see accessibility as much as our tools allow us to.

18 of 26


5. Communications. Traffic congestion is something people hate; they have a visceral reaction to it. I love the notion of accessibility, but we are not going to get the public to embrace it. If we are going to break the political barrier on this, we have to find a way to communicate it in a way people can understand and want it. Congestion is a pain point. With accessibility, they might have something good. David Meunier France is not a centralized country in the way many people think it is. There are regional schemes for transport and air quality and energy. There are many plans, but they are not issued by one entity. We try to coordinate them, more or less. Organization of decisions. Highly structured at the project level. We do socio-economic assessment of transport projects and hold public debates, and do ex-post evaluation of all big projects. Role of accessibility: There are only rarely explicit quantitative objectives. We used to have rules for how close places should be to a road or a high speed rail line—but this was too costly. So this objective was abandoned. Review of cost-benefit methods led to new guidelines in 2014. 2014: Cost benefit analyses opened up to the use of LUTI models and agglomeration economies. In practice, at project level, we use accessibility maps, and rarely accessibility indexes. Accessibility is necessary but not sufficient for development. Examples of the role of accessibility. National transport infrastructure scheme: analysis of reduction in regional accessibility inequalities. State program for urban public transport, 2014: 25 percent devoted to improving access to under-privileged suburbs. Grand Paris project: ongoing studies on links between accessibility and economic development/attractiveness/territorial development. National indicators of transport policy. Chapters devoted to accessibility, with diverse definitions. Many levels: • International/interregional/local accessibility • Passengers/freight • Access to jobs/services/rapid networks • More… What can we tell from this? Cost benefit analysis is more fit for comparing costs per project and between projects. Accessibility analyses more fit for spatialized diagnosis and follow-up of policies. Neither cost benefit analysis nor accessibility analyses answer all questions asked by stakeholders, decision makers. Together, CBA and accessibility analyses may answer more questions. James Townsend I’m the politician in the room. I know you want to talk about barriers. I’ll speak briefly to that. In order to overcome barriers to infrastructure policy for accessibility, you must think on two levels: the crisis in U.S and in Michigan. It’s a crisis of confidence. Next year’s election will be about who will deal with this crisis. Crisis of confidence affects beliefs about future, economy, security.

19 of 26


Michigan is trapped in the past in their approach; the state is very locked in what didn’t work before. The result is low expectations, in Michigan and nationally. This expectation is expressed in four words we often hear from the public: just fix the roads. That thinking is a barrier for us, because it’s not good enough for us just to fix the roads. It is difficult to stretch them into thinking about what transportation can do for them. I was moved by David’s information about France. How can we get people to see their hopes and dreams for the future linked to transportation policy; instead, it’s “how do we solve the crisis.” The lowest denominator, and just do that. We have to challenge ourselves to engage people in what accessibility means to them. Knowing that all politics is local, we have to think about the value of accessibility in those terms, in how they come to transportation planning as an issue. Most people think about transportation in terms of their own commute; how long am I sitting in traffic in my daily commute? We have to help people go beyond that and see how accessibility can improve quality of life. Business community can be an ally if they can see what their interest is in this issue. Nick Donohue I’m a DOT executive who has worked to embrace accessibility and transportation impacts. Not always fun or easy. I’ll talk about what we’ve run into in Virginia. Prioritization process for capacity enhancements are moving forward; it’s a scoring process. We included a measure of accessibility in this process. Three obstacles to accessibility based evaluation: 1. Technical. Until recently, did not have the data to assess accessibility. The concept requires you know whether people are achieving an outcome. This is starting to change with GPS. Even when we have the data, we’re not always sure how to use it. Also, for accessibility to be useful, it has to be forward looking. Must look into the future to see if we’re making a beneficial impact into the future; has this increased capacity at some form? Has it increased dispersement? Have we allowed density to increase? And do you want the state DOT to analyze where we want growth in the future? 2. Institutional. For a long time, the vast bulk of state DOT work was building freeways between metro regions. Distances were set, the proximity was whatever it was. The only variable that mattered was speed, because the destinations were fixed. There’s some discomfort around dealing with land use issues. In reality, we don’t build infrastructure so you can have a pleasant Sunday drive. 3. Politics. There are many vested interests in not using metrics like accessibility. Land speculators on outskirts of cities; they want speed metrics because will lead to investments that increase their land value. This is difficult to deal with. Congestion is also a one-liner: “Gridlock sucks.” Accessibility is complicated, harder to explain. Also, a governor has to deliver results. When you only have a four year term you have to be careful; do you want to spend years fighting with the DOT? To most politicians, it’s not worth it. Bill Lyons Volpe is part of USDOT. It’s a sort of in-house think tank. In US, we have a planning framework that is national. That’s an advantage. Includes things like each area must have 20-year long range plans. We all do realistic financial planning. When there are air quality problems, the standards must be met. MAP 21 shifts to performance-based focus. Most are basically mobility, but we may be able to pivot to accessibility. The increasing emphasis on management of existing capacity rather than adding new capacity is promising. 20 of 26


Seeds of change? Two things: 1. Performance-based planning. MPOs and DOTs must move to an outcome-based process. There are also six federal goals and national air quality goals. 2. Best-practices research. Projects are underway by many folks looking at MPOs and DOTs. Access to health-related destinations, policy leadership. Expect 20-year plan to guide investment decisions. You can find areas of innovation. Yes, mind the gap. But the gap begins with a policy and leadership gap. I agree that congestion is compelling, but what is essential is to begin drawing compelling cases for accessibility goals. We can’t just stop at promoting it as something good for low income people and those with disabilities. It has to be more than just access to different modes or to transit; it’s going to be access to particular destinations. It should be a general population issue, not a social welfare issue. Panel 2 discussion Question: University of Minnesota put out two reports in the last year. How many jobs can be reached in 30 minutes by transit or walking in metro areas in US. We’ve been able to explain this concept to politicians. How many things you can reach is something people care about. I think we can frame it properly, even in a way politicians will get. So the question isn’t so much how to frame it, it’s about distributing it. States see the value of this. Nine states are partners. We have the data to measure this. People understand GPS systems. Response: I’m pessimistic about states giving up mobility measures, like LOS. Until you get the variability of land use in there, you don’t have a full picture of accessibility. Maybe begin with delay, but then incorporate land use. Jeff: Two things are political opportunities. One is scarcity. In the context of Michigan and US in general, you can make the argument that we must make better use of resources we have. I led an effort to try to push through performance measurements for projects that wasn’t successful. Why? Because of the idea of hierarchy of needs, because we’re just trying to keep our heads above water. My argument is, you’d have a lot more money if you’d follow this process. This process could be won because voters keep rejecting new funding. The second opportunity: I’ve tried to emphasize economic performance and being able to attract young people. How do we get land use planning to sync up better? There is a growing recognition that places have assets you need to be able to link to. Question: On framing issue—this is a collective action problem. You need to find an early mover willing to act irrationally to spur behavior change. Most of the different players involved in this are risk adverse by nature. Historically, real estate has been risk-loving player that could spur some of these changes. Who are the other risk loving people? Response: Business community. There are major tech entrepreneurs making irrational bets on Detroit right now. I believe in it, but I think others are skeptical. Can we recruit them to be a voice for accessibility? I think there’s an opportunity. City DOT directors—they are becoming change agents as personnel shift over time. And MPOs have a platform to question traditional ways of doing things. There are new folks coming up into more traditional roles, but they don’t have a network to support them in this.

21 of 26


One way to look at it is, what is the access we’re talking about? Who, where, why. Jobs are often the starting point, but there are other public policy goals. Healthy communities is getting traction in the US. Planning for healthy communities, including access to health-related destinations. This brings in the public health sector and an energized, engaged public, which is a goal of the planning framework. Then you can move forward. Role of MPO directors: they are brokers. Provide a large table to bring people together. If an MPO is working, it’s a place for well-informed tradeoffs. You can end up with broad agreements in long range plans that can shape investments. Question: You’ll commonly hear the complaint to fix the damn roads. I want to put to the panel: should accessibility advocates do more to support the fix the roads people? Response: Yes, we have to be smarter about repair plans. There is not a lot of new capacity in the books. The problem is that we get resistance to doing anything else unless we can fix every last pothole. We have to figure out how we can do strategic investment while also improving accessibility. I was referring to resistance inside MDOT. Improving accessibility and the fixing roads are both fine to do. MDOT feels they can’t even win the battle just on maintenance—but maintenance is not good enough.

22 of 26


PANEL 3 • • • •

Jim Thorne, FHA Carey Curtis, Curtin University, Australia Georg-Friedrich Koppen, Department of Urban Planning, Munich Maria Machancoses, West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, UK Jim Thorne

Map 21 takes a performance-based planning approach. Goal driven, outcome driven process. Performance measures attached to the goals. Can also see how alternatives compare. I see that as a big opportunity—to have a more outcome-based framework in how make decisions. MPOs all work a little differently. Performance measures will give us some commonalities. Accessibility metrics are not explicitly included. Eight key planning factors that all statewide or MPOs should consider: talk about economic vitality, safety, system preservation and “access and mobility.” You do see accessibility show up in plans across the country. Some will take the planning factors and use them as their goals. We prefer if the public participates in the process. Should be informed, including on accessibility. Secretary of Transportation set forth explicit goals to get people walking a few years ago. Current secretary held a connectivity summit. We’re looking at connectivity more from people’s perspective than from a network perspective. Accessibility, mobility and land use. There is an awareness that we need to look more broadly at the transportation system. Land use and transportation coordination is one of the topics I work on. As I do workshops across the country…North Dakota wanted to do land use training. These are communities of 1,000 that are thinking about transportation issues because of all this truck traffic from the oil boom. A one day workshop turned into a statewide webinar with 130 people (city workers, mostly). Goal was simple: these aren’t just transportation problems; they also involve land use. Early first topic was definition of accessibility, and what are you trying to accomplish in your community. Federal Highways also supports a scenario planning approach. If you go this way, this is how things will look in 20 years. Gainesville, FL director’s interest was to raise awareness about land use and transportation decisions, and how they lead to different consequences. One fed tool is Invest. Another tool is through Livability Initiative, called the Community Vision Tools metric system. Produces list of performance measures; can choose accessibility or mobility or whole list of others. Also, the Location Affordability Portal helps people to look at the combined cost of housing and transportation. Carey Curtis We have a great research board that is researching how we introduce accessibility assessment into our transport evaluation. I attended webinar recently on applying LOS, travel time savings into accessibility metrics. Problem: major transport projects are resolved in a highly political arena. Every time we have a state election, debates are about whether have an extra piece of freeway or whether we should have more investment in public transport and so on. Vicious debates, pork barreling. Swinging 23 of 26


elections have been a big issue. Real decisions are made around election times. That’s a major obstacle. Institutional arrangements: current federal government has said they will only fund road projects, not public transport. States are involved in public transport. State and local governments do land use planning, not federal. Some states are strong in land use planning and others are weak. Institutionally, if we think about accessibility being a combination of both land use and transportation, this institutional structure does not work well. Even where there is interest in accessibility evaluation, it’s difficult to resource. At state level, strategic planners no longer exist. They are just project managers, with projects outsourced to private firms. Consultants will just do whatever they’re asked to do. When there is interest in accessibility in the few planners in those agencies, there is difficulty in understanding what is meant by accessibility. The good news is that academics have filled that space. I can have my foot in both camps; practitioners and academics blur. Our accessibility indicators are highly visual so you don’t have to be an expert. This allows us to start conversations. We can put a map up and show accessibility. Red is where it’s bad, green is good. People can see how a city looks from a public transport point of view. As soon as you show a specific place—and people know that place—they will get talking. Overcoming the barriers: if we confront institutional structure, it’s too hard. Instead, what we’ve been doing is demonstrating the tool and engaging with people. Spreading understanding in a way that gets people involved. We do scenario planning. We demonstrate what current accessibility looks like, then ask what the future might look like in 30 years time. Another message coming up regularly is, what are the policy aspirations? What should they be? I just came from Perth, which is doing an integrated transport plan. They are lobbying state and using scenario planning. It’s a narrow focus, but accessibility is getting in there. Word of mouth. Rather than looking at the institutions, we are going in by the back door. When we put the maps up, politicians look at them and go, wow, my area is where public transport is doing very poorly. Georg-Friedrich Koppen It’s tough to describe the German system in Munich in a few minutes. In Germany, have three methods for guidelines for infrastructure evaluation. First is to evaluate transportation infrastructure with performance indicators. Cost-benefit analysis with indicators for travel time, etc. All methods and guidelines use travel times of car times and passengers of public transport. We do not consider land use changes and the higher value of real estate. Barriers: there are different types of obstacles, organizations and so on. The methods I showed you use travel times for accessibility. Even the type of roads makes a difference in the methods. How do we overcome obstacles? New guidelines are needed for accessibility-based evaluation. Our theme is sustainable transport for all. Guidelines and strategies. New buildings should be connected to the public transport grid. Maria Machancoses

24 of 26


What’s happening in the UK goes back to 2003. Accessibility planning began to be enforced across the board as of 2003 through a national policy guideline. At that time, the main purpose was to promote social inclusion, to help people from disadvantaged groups. Not just about transport. We developed software called Accession. It proved good to engaging people. You show visuals to people, and the moment you do that, it becomes a good engagement tool. For example, we worked with the department for health. Nobody was aware that people couldn’t use public transport to get to appointments on time, at certain times of day. There were many missed appointments. We did a similar thing with colleges and universities looking at how accessibility is a good selling point to attract new students; jump on a train and you’ll be here in no time. Key challenges: 1. Accountability placed only on TAs: who is required to meet AP requirements? How is impact measured? Who monitors applicability? Value for money? 2. Policy support: transport focused. No guidance from health, land use, education etc. 3. 2010/11 global economic crisis. Focus shifted from social to economic outputs. We made a case for strengthening cross-sector collaboration. Supporting wider government policies and targeting specific governmental departments. We provided clarity on cross-sector benefits. Seeking “shared accountability” to achieve social, environmental and economic goals (www.pteg.net). These goals cannot be only the responsibility of the transport authority. We use lots of data. Tourism and bus ridership. NHS and missed appointments. Making the planning system more efficient, effective. We played a role in supporting the business case for major investments in high speed rail. Not just a rail line to move people quickly; also think about job creation. Start a debate about how high speed rail can support jobs and skill building. In conclusion: accessibility planning (AP) remains an effective measurement tool. Cross sector policy support is key for implementation and monitoring. Should aim at delivering different objectives. Guidance should be given nationally, giving freedom to partners to implement AP tailored to their needs. Panel 3 discussion Question: FHWA guidelines include “accessibility and mobility” in its Invest tool. What do people actually mean when they say accessibility and mobility? Thorne: That’s an issue, the grouping of accessibility and mobility. How does that affect the plan? Do they have an accessibility goal that drives the process? Our responsibility is to help people understand the distinction between these terms. Question: Those federal planning factors are a subject of agonizing debate. Trying to figure out what the fed wants. MPOs ask, “just tell us what to say.” Question: How did you pick 49 minutes? (Question for Maria about data on slides) Maria: It’s essentially arbitrary. A product of the work of the modelers.

25 of 26


Question: When shifting from a social to economic agenda in the UK, you could use the same tool. That’s a powerful point. On guidance, what is your perspective on guidance, on your saying that guidance should be less strict? Maria: That’s the challenge we have at the moment. There is a drive for devolution of powers. First to regional authorities, and now to combined authorities. National policies now are really high level. They don’t go into detail because they want to empower lower authorities. The challenge is to make sure local government embraces accessibility. Good news is that combined authorities are bringing together many departments/interests. Question: In the previous session, we were talking about the obstacles. I’m aware it can be difficult to transfer strategies between countries, or even just authorities. Would panelists give their take on whether this evidence from the UK is convincing? Could this help the US make a shift? Response: How do you take cross-sectoral costs and benefits? Our plans must show they have the money, reasonably expected, to do the investments, at least for those in the short term. When you start talking about health access, and a dollar spent on transportation improvement saves $10 in health costs, who gets credit for that? Response: You need a way to capture that data. This gets to the accountability issue, to encourage investment in transportation, e.g. getting the backing of health industry and political groups. Who pays for what? There is a challenge there. That’s why we need a strong business case for transportation. Response: Scenario planning shows that the biggest changes you need to make is land use change, with only relatively small changes in transport.

26 of 26

notes from accessibility subconference.pdf

business, and he had a charming smile. When she -. was -with him she felt happy and good tempered. And the deep affection -which she saw in those merry.

138KB Sizes 0 Downloads 83 Views

Recommend Documents

Spatial information accessibility in South Australia from the Internet: a ...
2. Spatial information accessibility in South Australia from the Internet: a ..... 2.html. Australian spatial data directory. (Australia Govt). 2. 8. South Australia. 84.

Accessibility plan.pdf
The school nurse visits regularly to monitor. vulnerable pupils. Access to the curriculum. All areas of the curriculum should be available to pupils regardless of their disability. Page 3 of 4. Accessibility plan.pdf. Accessibility plan.pdf. Open. Ex

Ruler Mathematics. Protractor Mathematics. Page 3 of 4. 2017-accessibility-cheatsheet.pdf. 2017-accessibility-cheatsheet.pdf. Open. Extract. Open with. Sign In.

Administrator Guide to Accessibility
Sep 1, 2012 - Apps for Business & Education. Administrator Guide to Accessibility. Google, Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway. Mountain View, CA 94043.

various notes from henry.pdf
Page 1 of 1. Drey, hey where are you? you've been out all morning and I wanna go down the. ravine with bikes. You got your bike? come by when you get back.

Switching from Lotus Notes to Google Apps
All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective ... software. Google Sites enables users to create, publish, and manage web pages,.

Notes from Underground-fieldobs
Sep 10, 2007 - more generalized ant mimics (spiders that resemble ants but have no specific model, see photo). This suggests .... an ant with free mandibles.

Notes from Mrs. Looman's desk
Feb 9, 2017 - Please contact Ms. Martin at ... direction of our SCA members, Rick & Maggie, who are planning a day full of educational activities and fun.

Revenue Harvest scores greater email accessibility ... .com.my
Business. Revenue Harvest is a payment solutions provider based in Kuala Lumpur, ... owing to the real time collaboration that Google's cloud services provide.

Language Accessibility Advisory Committee ... - State of California
Sep 20, 2016 - Advisory Committee http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/laac/. Friday, September 30, 2016. 3:00 p.m.. Conference Call Number: (877) 443-3042.

Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee ... - State of California
Sep 16, 2016 - 1:00 p.m.. Conference Call Number: ... Independent Living Resource Center ... Welcome, Call to Order, Roll Call, and Declaration of Quorum. 2.